Lobbyists, Wonks and Tories Mingling at the Russian Embassy Conservative Friends of Russia Launch Party

Last night Guido infiltrated the Russian Embassy for the Conservative Friends of Russia launch party. The vodka was flowing as lobbyists, businessmen, wonks and Conservative MPs mingled with Russian diplomats and pals of Putin. Guido gathers that the decision to set up Conservative Friends of Russia was not taken lightly, with the Tory hierarchy expressing concerns that the group was being established the week after the Pussy Riot girls were imprisoned. Perhaps that was why the advertised keynote speaker Malcolm Rifkind didn’t show…

Replacing Rifkind was John Whittingdale, who awkwardly noted that “sometimes our country will not agree with your country, and sometimes your country will not agree with ours“. With the pleasantries dealt with the Russian Standard booze was wheeled out and tongues were loosened. One champagne-swilling Russian reader told Guido that he would be locked up if he ever decided to relocate the blog to the motherland…

UPDATE: CFoR have got in touch claiming that Rifkind is in Scotland and was never due to speak at the event. Despite being their Honorary President

UPDATE II:  Guido has independently confirmed that Rifkind was in Edinburgh yesterday and was never intended to be there.




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Quote of the Day

John Curtice on fiscal policy:

“Attitudes to taxation and spending are basically counter-cyclical. If a government comes in and tries to reduce spending and taxation, after a while people will get worried about the state of public services. If a government increases taxation and public spending, after a while they’ll get concerned about increasing taxation…. In as much as there are lots of ideologues out there who think the state should be this proportion of GDP, they’re all wrong. Because the public’s view is counter-cyclical to the recent experience. It’s basically impossible to satisfy the public.”

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